NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Gov. Ralph Northam joined transportation leaders Thursday to share information about the agreements for a $3.8 billion expansion of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board authorized an agreement last month for the project, which is the largest of its kind in the Commmonwealth’s history.
Northam said in a statement Thursday, “These agreements are a culmination of the diligent work and extensive negotiations by our dedicated teams over the past year to deliver significant improvements to reduce daily congestion, increase safety, and enhance connectivity throughout this key corridor.”
The expansion project will:
✅improve emergency evacuation capabilities
✅AND increase travel time reliability pic.twitter.com/dN5jjgDEZT— VDOT (@VaDOT) April 25, 2019
The project will widen the bridge-tunnel from two lanes to four lanes of traffic in each direction — adding two free lanes, an express lane and a shoulder express lane.
The Virginia Department of Transportation said last month $3.56 billion will be paid through the Hampton Roads Transportation Fund from regional sales and gas taxes.
Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine said, “This generational project will increase capacity, support emergency evacuation readiness, and deliver the largest transportation asset in Virginia’s history.”
VDOT will being funding the bridge trestles on the Norfolk side of the HRBT.
Following Northam’s announcement, state and local leaders ceremonially signed the funding and comprehensive agreements for the project.
The project is expected to be completed by Nov. 1, 2025. It’s projected to bolster the Hampton Roads region with more than $4.6 billion in investments and a projected 28,000 new jobs.
Mayor of Hampton Donnie Tuck says the project is going to connect two parts of Hampton Roads. “When this project is completed, I think we are going to see a relationship between the south side and the Penninsula that we haven’t experienced before.”
“This is big for our economy, you can hear the military, the helicopters, the aircraft carriers, we need to take care of our military,” Northam said.